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Press Release for Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Board of Trustees Elects New University of North Florida President

Media Contact: Joanna Norris, Director

Department of Public Relations

(904) 620-2102

The University of North Florida's Board of Trustees decided today to select Dr. David Szymanski to become UNF's sixth president.


We're excited about our selection of David Szymanski as the next president of UNF," said Kevin Hyde, Board of Trustees chair. "Szymanski's proven track record of leadership will be a valuable asset to the University as we continue our commitment to provide excellent undergraduate and graduate education."


Szymanski is currently the dean of the Carl H. Lindner College of Business and professor of marketing at the University of Cincinnati, which has a campus of more than 44,000 students. Under his leadership as Lindner dean, enrollment in the business college has grown some 50 percent for undergraduate and nearly 200 percent for graduate students, with first-year retention rates as high as 93 percent and six-year graduation rates increasing 1,000 basis points to 71 percent.


During his eight years at UC, Szymanski has also led curriculum changes for undergraduate and graduate students, revising the MBA to be more flexible for the professional and time-constrained student. New masters and doctoral degrees in demand by students and businesses have been added in addition to new graduate certificate programs. Additionally, the College launched new online courses and degree programs.


Lindner's MBA program has gone from being unranked to now being a Top 35 full-time and Top 25 part-time public program by Bloomberg Businessweek. In addition, the College now has Top 25 master's programs in accounting, analytics, applied economics, finance, marketing and tax as well as Top 10 undergraduate programs in accounting, marketing and microeconomics.


With Szymanski's guidance, Lindner is now the most profitable college at UC, generating 81 percent of the net operating profit on the academic side of the enterprise. He has helped raise more than $70M, and in fiscal year 2017, the College raised more than $20M, making it the first academic unit in the university's history to break the $20M threshold.


Prior to joining UC, he was the director of the Center for Retailing Studies at Texas A&M University. Szymanski has served on a number of corporate and professional boards, including several NCAA boards/committees and currently sits on the board of directors of Office Depot. He earned his doctorate and MBA, both with a marketing emphasis, from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and his bachelor's degree in economics from the University of North Carolina at Asheville.


Hyde was authorized by the trustees to enter into negotiations with Szymanski. In addition, the selection must be confirmed by the Florida Board of Governors before it's finalized. The BOG will meet on UNF's campus Thursday, March 29, and is expected to vote on the president-elect at that time.


The selection concludes an extensive national search launched last spring. Early in the process, faculty, students, staff, donors and volunteers attended numerous listening sessions to provide input on the qualities and characteristics desired for the next president. Over 600 online surveys where submitted, providing similar guidance. The Presidential Search Committee reviewed the 75 applicants, and after public comment, narrowed the list to 12 semi-finalists, who had on-campus interviews.


Following another period of public comment, the Search Committee narrowed the list to the final candidates, and each of the finalists had individual sessions with faculty, staff, students, donors, volunteers, associate deans, chairs, deans, vice presidents, direct reports and community leaders. Another online survey was then conducted to gather feedback on the four finalists. The Board of Trustees reviewed those survey results and heard public comment to take all perspectives into consideration before deciding who would lead UNF into the future.


"I want to express my thanks to the campus community for their participation in this process and the valuable insight they offered on each of the candidates. I also want to thank the Presidential Search Committee and my fellow board members for conducting a fair and open search that produced thoughtful discussions about the future leadership of UNF," Hyde said.


Szymanski will succeed John A. Delaney, who has served as UNF president for the last 15 years. He retires as University president Thursday, May 31. In addition to Delaney, UNF has had four other permanent presidents, including founding president Dr. Thomas Carpenter (1969-1980), Dr. Curtis McCray (1982-1988), Dr. Adam Herbert (1989-1998) and Dr. Anne Hopkins (1999-2002).


UNF, a nationally ranked university located on an environmentally beautiful campus, offers students who are dedicated to enriching the lives of others the opportunity to build their own futures through a well-rounded education.